Manos Tsotros

Manos Tsotros, founder of immersionFX Games.

Thanks for joining us! Do you mind introducing yourself to our wonderful readers?

Hi, I’m Manos Tsotros, founder of immersionFX Games and a professional engineer in the IT and gaming sector. I’m the one who conceived the idea of and developed The Good Life.

Tell us about The Good Life!

This is the story of Derek Hales, a guy who is fed up withthe nine-to-five lifestyle and he escapes to a fictitious tropical island complex that is known as the “Jo Jo islands”. Together with his girlfriend Michelle, they open their ownboating company, initially with a humble taxi-boat that transfers tourists around – and that’s where it all begins. Your challenge as a player, should you decide to accept it, is to help these guys get rich, by buying luxurious boats and investing in real estate properties. So, The Good Life is essentially a business simulation game because the main goal is to attract customers, make profits, improve and expand.

The Good Life is a really interesting mix of genres and gameplay mechanics. How did you come up with the concept for the game?

While brainstorming ideas for a new game concept, I observed the world around me, trying to find a captivating aspect that makes people happy. Escaping to a beautiful tropical paradise and leaving behind everyday life was a serious candidate and so I used it as the basis of the game. I then tried playing a mini prototype in my head and did lots of trying things and failing while iterating on what works. Eventually, I discussed things with our publisher, Iceberg Interactive, and their input helped me envisage a game idea that I felt really strongly about.

The Good Life - Fancy Boat

Run your business right, and you just might be able to afford a luxury boat.

The tycoon element of the game really intrigues me. How does the player build a commercial empire? What is it that they are selling and marketing?
There are various real estate properties in the island complex, like villas, hotels, bungalows, etc, that can be bought or sold, depending on the amount of cash you have available. Everyday life’s cash flow is generated by attracting tourists (in more ways than just transporting them to their destinations), accomplishing missions, discovering underwater treasures or just investing in better boats. For example, just say you have enough money and decide to buy a luxurious yacht. This will increase your income in the long run because you will charge your customers a higher fare. 

I should mention that there’s also competition from other computer controlled skippers/investors in the game. You should invest wisely and force them out of business; then you become the only tycoon inthe area by owning everything that there is to be owned and then it’s Game Over. This will be the only way to gain “tycoon” status in the Hall of Fame.

With regards to the simulation aspect of the game, how did you model the physics of a boat on water?

We scripted ways to accurately place our range of boats and sailboats on the 3D water. The buoyancy model uses this information to help manage the motion of ships and other floating objects in every scene. To achieve some extra realism, the floating behaviour varies depending on the boat at hand. For example, yachts are (and behave) heavier than sailboats, and speedboats steer faster than wooden taxi-boats but speedboats can also capsize if they run too fast!

The Good Life - Boat

There’s nothing quite like taking a cruise in a boat.

How important is it for you to get the boat and water physics right? I remember years ago playing Wave Race and having a blast because fromthe first play, the physics just felt good.

We decided to avoid giving users the ultra-realistic version of boat physics, as leveraging real physics to steer a boat might be too confusing to our target group. The water on the other hand, as an integral part of the world, was of great importance to the overall look and feel of the game, thus we went for a solution with fast-Fourier transforms (FFTs) that simulate dynamically generated waves all the way to generating underwater and overwater shading techniques.

The main concern was that this game should not be programmed as a strict ship simulation game; however, it should feel right, physics should look natural, and, of equal importance, the end result should be optimized for low-end hardware.

What can players expect to see while diving?

Diving opens up a whole new area of exploration. There is a variety of different things to see underwater including the wildlife, flooded ruins, shipwrecks and more. There’s also a nice gameplay challenge while searching for old WWII planes or skeletal remains of some famous person in exchange for a hefty lump of cash.

Diving underwater can also be a soothing experience; the combination of an unearthly atmosphere, a lovely score, the sounds of the deep and surprises lurking in every corner, set the mood for a relaxing exploratory campaign.

The Good Life - Diving

The game features a mix of gameplay options, including being able to dive and explore.

What do you feel is the most unique feature in the game?

I’d say it is it’s originality as a genre. The Good Life is an intriguing combination of gameplay styles; part ship simulation, part time-management, part exploration, and part business management tycoon, and all of this is taking place in a rich man’s tropical setting.

How can gamers support you and The Good Life?

Releasing onSteam is our top priority right now, so we appreciate each and everyone’s upvotes in our Greenlight page. We already have an update ready with significant gameplay changes and interesting additions that we’ll release as soon as we get accepted.

As with any other independent company out there, we have a continuous passion for developing video games. I believe that the thrill of making games is about creating a world in a way that anyone else can also make it their world. All other benefits from doing it (e.g. money, fame) are secondary, replaceable or even obtainable elsewhere. So, the love and interest from our audience is what can keep us motivated to work on an even better world with more of the Good Life in the future.

Thank you for answering our questions!

It’s been a pleasure!